Toneicya Parrott is Newton County School System’s (NCSS) 2021 Media Specialist of the Year.
The Live Oak Elementary School media specialist will now represent NCSS in the South Metro Regional Library Media Specialist of the Year competition.
Newton County Theme School media specialist Ali Geigerman and Flint Hill Elementary School media specialist, Laura NcNulty, were finalists for the district award.
“I am truly humbled by the opportunity to be recognized as the 2021 NCSS Media Specialist of the Year,” said Parrott.
“In my seven years as an NCSS educator, I have worked with an incredible group of administrators, teachers, and most importantly, served an extraordinary group of students. I am honored to be recognized at such a magnitude. My goal is to continue to empower students to become lifelong readers, critical thinkers, and responsible digital citizens.”
This marks Parrott’s 13th year in education and her fourth as a media specialist. She joined the NCSS team seven years ago as a fifth-grade teacher at Live Oak before transitioning to the school’s media specialist position in 2016.
Parrott explained her decision to make the switch from classroom educator to media specialist.
“As a classroom educator, student academic growth has always been my focus,” she said. “But as a media specialist, there are endless opportunities to create a learning environment that promotes creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Most importantly, as a media specialist, I can empower students to take ownership of their learning.”
She added, “As a student, I have traveled many places through reading great books, because reading stimulates your imagination and fascination. At an early age, I gained a love for reading, and it has always been a passion of mine to share and promote the love for being a lifelong reader with students.
“The rewards of becoming a media specialist are numerous. However, the greatest reward comes from knowing that I have fostered the love of reading for students, developed strong digital citizenship skills, and prepared students to be contributors for a global society.”
Parrott is and has been actively involved in promoting student success at Live Oak. She is the coordinator of the Live Oak Elementary School Technology Club and the school reading club. In 2016, she launched a mentoring program for young girls called My Sister’s Keeper. Parrott also serves on the NCSS Library Media Specialist Leadership Team.
According to Parrott, the media center plays a vital role in student learning and success.
“The media center is the learning hub of the school and is a place where students can gain their most authentic learning experience,” she explained. “The role of a media specialist extends beyond helping students to become lifelong readers.
“In a digital society, as media specialists, it is our role to teach students about digital citizenship, cyberbullying, releasing personal information online, being an empowered learner, adequately constructing knowledge, creative communication and collaborating globally.
“It is our job as media specialists to show students how to conduct research and validate information as 21st century learners.
“Media specialists also provide endless support for teachers and extend the curriculum to bridge student achievement gaps. As a media specialist, we serve a unique role in our schools and we play a very instrumental role in the educational journey of our students.”
Adam Phyall, NCSS Director of Technology and Media Services, said, “Ms. Parrott provides a shining example of what it means to be a library media specialist.
“She is an eager, fun-loving, and engaging educator. In the time that I have worked with Ms. Parrott, she has worked diligently to increase the circulation of materials by diversifying the collection in her media center.
“Her work has exposed the students and staff of Live Oak Elementary to a wide range of authors and books. Ms. Parrott’s love of reading is truly contagious, and the Live Oak community has benefited from having her as a part of their team.”